TV-PGOctober 24, 2001: Time to duck, because debate over the iPod has the fur a-flyin'. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs announces to Pixarians that the Star Wars Episode II trailer will be shown before theatrical screenings of Monsters, Inc., and Apple slides precariously in the ratings of environmental friendliness by the Clean Computer Campaign...
But First, A Word From Our Sponsors

From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far

iPod: Imminent Civil War (10/24/01)

Okay, so it's a day later-- now that everyone's had time to kick it around a little (metaphorically speaking, of course), what's the buzz on the iPod? Well, based on the feedback we're seeing, at least, we'd have to call the reactions "mixed." Or possibly "sharply divided." Maybe even "break out the brass knuckles, Mabel, 'cuz there's a brawl a-brewin'." To put it as plainly as we possibly can, some people say "iPod good!" and some say "iPod bad!" (Reactions to "fire" were pretty universally negative, however.)

It's true; the vitriol in some of these letters is actually a little frightening. We get the distinct sense that a certain segment of the Mac-using community is just itching to carve Uncle Steve into bite-size chunks for releasing an MP3 player in this depressed economy with the eye-popping price tag of $399. (However, given the pre-release speculation orgy, we imagine that at least some of that anger may be misplaced frustration that yesterday's "breakthrough device" isn't a $19.99 handheld wireless color QuickTime player with Game Boy Advance compatibility, an anti-gravity module, and the ability to steal free cable porn. Some people are never satisfied.) A fair number of people, such as Shane Anderson in his scathing article for the MacEvangeList, seem to be expecting the imminent replay of the dreaded "Cube Syndrome." So will the iPod be yet another "insanely great" Apple product tanked by a price that's just plain insane? After all, a Nomad Jukebox has four times the storage capacity for the same price, right?

On the other hand, there are also people looking at the iPod like it's the Second Coming and calling for Steve's immediate canonization. (Given that he'd wind up dead either way, perhaps that's not such a great thing, at least from Steve's perspective. Oh, well.) iPod enthusiasts seem to be a little more cognizant of the whole "miniaturization costs" issue; that Nomad may have four times the storage, but it's also four times the size, volumetrically speaking. Personally, we'd rather have a 5 GB player that fits in a pocket than a 20 GB one the size of a CD player. Apple is presumably banking on the fact that most Mac users will be of the same mind.

The entire iPod itself is narrower than a standard laptop hard drive; according to Go2Mac, Apple must be using a rather rare 1.8-inch drive mechanism, hence the iPod's slightly hefty price tag. (Toshiba's 1.8-inch 5 GB drive sells for $499 alone-- although that's with a PC card interface.) We contend that when you think about what goes into it-- FireWire, a super-teensy 5 GB hard drive, 32 MB of solid-state memory, and Apple's famed fit and finish-- $399 for an iPod starts to look positively cheap.

Unfortunately, just because the price may be eminently justifiable doesn't mean that people are actually going to pay it; if someone offers you a brand new dual-800 Quicksilver for $50 cash, the fact that it's a great price doesn't mean squat if you still don't have the fifty bucks. We're noticing a disturbing number of glowing reviews of the iPod (or at least of its specs) that conclude with the sentiment, "I'd preorder one right now if I could afford it." Indeed, faithful viewer Chris Stout contends over at PEST that Apple is intentionally positioning itself as a luxury brand. Faithful viewer dissimilation picked up that ball and ran with it, cranking out a dozen or so proposed iPod slogans along the lines of "With your headphones powered at 30 watts per channel, you'll never be bothered with the sound of your creditors calling."

Still, whether you think the iPod is groundbreaking, wallet-busting, or just plain embarrassing, you have to admit that it's got people talking. Remember, Apple's goal here is not to sell an "MP3 player"; it's to prove that a Mac should be the hub of your digital world. And when a preview of the device in a PC-oriented publication like IGN's Gear (pointed out by faithful viewer vandenberg) includes such choice quotes as "Days like today make me wish I were a Mac user," well, something tells us that the iPod may be Steve's secret weapon to convert the masses. Let's see what happens this holiday season, shall we?

SceneLink (3349)
Monsters, Clones, Etc. (10/24/01)

So much for wondering about why the iPod is so named: it's clearly an overexuberant Pod Racer reference. Evidently Jedi Steve has had a little too much Star Wars on the brain lately. Don't believe us? Well, surely you wouldn't dare doubt the assertions of faithful viewer Sully the Blue Wookiee, who, via a complicated series of grunts and howls, pointed us toward an article at TheForce.Net about Steve's latest connection with the sci-fi series that launched a lucrative aftermarket collectible action figure cottage industry and taught us how to act at Apple store grand openings by showing us to what lengths costumed fans will camp out in line for tickets.

Apparently at a special "cast and crew screening" of the upcoming Monsters, Inc. flick, His Steveness got up and announced that the teaser trailer for Episode II (sadly tagged with the extended title "Attack Of The Clones"-- yeesh) would be playing during the theatrical run of the new Pixar opus. So there you have it, Star Wars fans; if you want to see the new Episode II trailer, all you need to do is go see Monsters, Inc. next week. Personally, we're still so disappointed with the whole Episode I experience (the AtAT staff, two minutes in: "Trade embargoes?!") that we're going to be seeing Monsters, Inc. in spite of the Clone trailer, not because of it. (Yes, we'll still go see Episode II. It's mandatory for our generation, isn't it?)

We don't know why the Episode II trailer is being attached to a Disney film, but if you don't believe the story, TheForce.Net even has an MP3 recording of the Stevester making the introduction. (The site says not to load it with the QuickTime plugin, but having massive problems with authority, we did it anyway, and it played just fine.) If it's a fake, whoever's doing the Jobs voice should hire himself out at parties. We just have one question, though: what was Steve "MonkeyBoy" Ballmer doing at a Pixar screening? Because that sure sounds like his "woo-hoo" right towards the end of the clip...

SceneLink (3350)
Someone Call Mr. Yuck! (10/24/01)

Uh-oh-- evidently the faltering economy is affecting Apple in less obvious ways than declining revenues. A couple of years ago we proudly noted that the Clean Computer Campaign (an initiative of the Silicon Valley Toxics Commission) had declared Apple to be a shining example of an environmentally-friendly computer manufacturer, awarding the company with a happy green candy cane graphic on its web site. Unfortunately, apparently it's not easy being green-- and a single year can make a world of difference when it comes to staying ecologically harmonious.

See, we were recently made aware of the CCC's updated report for 2000, and Apple didn't fare nearly as well. The scoring and criteria have clearly changed this time around, though details on why Apple dropped so far aren't entirely apparent. All we can say is that instead of an industry-leading 4 points out of 5 in 1999, Apple scored a mere 31 points out of 87 last year, for a seemingly dismal score of 35.6%. Ouch. Instead of being a paragon of greenhood, among U.S.-based computer makers, Apple finished lower than both IBM and Hewlett-Packard, while merely tying Compaq. Ah, well; at least Steve and the gang still beat out Dell. (19 points out of 87, Mikey? Tsk, tsk... Well, maybe all the fumes floating around Dell headquarters are responsible for the man's obsessive mental state.)

The 2001 report isn't up yet, but it'll surface sometime next month in time for the holiday shopping season. Here's hoping that Apple hasn't slid further down the slippery slope of rampant toxicity. We just wish we knew what the company did to slip so far in the standings just one year later. Hmmm... Maybe it was that "Free Barrel of Industrial-Grade Tetrachloroethylene With Every New iMac" promotion that Apple ran last summer. Or perhaps it's the little-known fact that each Cube that Apple produced required the clearcutting of three acres of Brazilian rainforest, the discharge of six gallons of chromium runoff into the groundwater near a day-care center, and the clubbing of a baby seal-- who can say? Still, live and learn, right?

SceneLink (3351)
← Previous Episode
Next Episode →
Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

(1162 votes)

Like K-pop, but only know the popular stuff? Expand your horizons! Prim M recommends underrated K-pop tunes based on YOUR taste!

Prim M's Playlist

DISCLAIMER: AtAT was not a news site any more than Inside Edition was a "real" news show. We made Dawson's Creek look like 60 Minutes. We engaged in rampant guesswork, wild speculation, and pure fabrication for the entertainment of our viewers. Sure, everything here was "inspired by actual events," but so was Amityville II: The Possession. So lighten up.

Site best viewed with a sense of humor. AtAT is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Keep hands inside car at all times. The drinking of beverages while watching AtAT is strongly discouraged; AtAT is not responsible for damage, discomfort, or staining caused by spit-takes or "nosers."

Everything you see here that isn't attributed to other parties is copyright ©,1997-2023 J. Miller and may not be reproduced or rebroadcast without his explicit consent (or possibly the express written consent of Major League Baseball, but we doubt it).